Over the past 10 years, I have received more rejections than I have ever experienced in my life and the feeling was like having a window pushed down roughly atop your knuckles. Rejection after rejection of articles and short stories sent to various publication outlets. Rejections from major academic journals. Rejections of the particularly crushing kind, in my friendships and personal relationships, too. I began to wonder, if this is what being an adult was all about: learning how to suffer gracefully.
When you experience rejections in various spaces and places, you can become bitter enough to believe that everyone is against you, which is not the case. What may be the case, however, is that perhaps you are putting your energy into the wrong hands. We often let others dictate and control our energy because something inside of us is searching for external validation. We live in a society that is centered in vanity and outward displays of success and if we do not measure up to these deeply capitalistic and individualistic expectations, we somehow believe we have failed.
Competition can be healthy and toxic. I have seen the ways that competition can encourage others to become their best selves. Fitness is a great example of how people can inspire one another to live healthier lives. One of the reasons why I love moving my body, is because I can test and execute various strategies for a particular physical and most importantly, spiritual reward. Exercise invigorates my soul and my senses simultaneously, reminding me that everything is temporary, even this body we live in day in and day out.
At the same time, competition can make us constantly compare ourselves to others, which is a waste of our time and energy because no two journeys are alike, therefore, comparing them only results in a restricted understanding of the complexity of being human. None of us choose what we look like or the circumstances we are born in to. However, it is what we choose to do with what we actually do have that can change the world.
So back to rejection. The more I ruminated on what I believed were rejections were really just growing pains in my life. I genuinely had to let some people go and release myself from situations that no longer served me. Once I could fully step into what appeared to be my universal alignment, I was able to create more, to reflect more and most importantly, to trust myself more. And here is what trusting myself more taught me: rejection is a part of life.
There is a culture of silence around rejection, especially on social media where everyone wants to share their piece of the Talented Tenth pie to say “Look at me, I made it!” And everyone likes, and loves and hugs and shares the photo or the narrative, creating a sense of pride and community. However, what happens to the people who do not have these narratives? Whose online popularity does not exist? How do they take in these seemingly major wins in the face of their own personal battles and rejections? Some may think, “I can’t worry about what others are thinking, I have to celebrate myself!” And to an extent that is true. We should all celebrate one another’s victories. At the same time, why can’t we dissect our rejections as much as we dissect our victories? Can you imagine how a mindset shift that embodies both joy and pain could transform humanity? That is the world I want to live in.
Thinking about the world we desire to live in is just as important as improving the world we currently live in. It is a double-edge sword of change, creation and innovation where we become committed to improving humanity because we are privileged to be here today, alive, reading these words. So do you want to know what I did with my rejections? I will break it down in 5 steps below:
I acknowledged that my rejections were causing animosity, doubt and fear in my body, thus causing my relationships with those closest to me to become strained.
I began to exercise more as a way to combat my anxiety and clinical bouts of depression.
I started an online coaching business where I could help others discuss their own rejections or lifelong dreams, which simultaneously helped me in the process.
I began meditating every morning as a way to be intentional about my goals for the day, which lead to more creative projects and business goals.
I used my rejections to continue to work on my writing and find multiple ways to share my work with others, primarily social media.
If you are struggling with rejection today, I want to remind you of this: everything does not come when you want it, however, if it is for you, it will arrive at your destination, eventually. What do you truly desire and who is it for? Are your dreams for you or for other people to see you in a particular way? Throughout my years of coaching, I have seen the ways that many have been afraid to do what they love the most due to what others may think. Reflecting persistently upon rejection is a time killer. Accept it and move on, while continuing to pursue your dreams. And you are lucky, now, with the great developments in technology and the Internet; you have many resources at the palm of your hands! Are you ready to turn your rejections into your greatness? If so, purchase the Self Love Life 101 Do It Today! Transform Your Life In 7 Days Guide to help you get there!
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